CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A group of recent CMU graduates take the New York International Fringe Festival by storm

Pittsburgh City Paper: Outside a small theater in New York City's East Village, on Aug. 18, a lined formed down the block to see PigPen Theatre Co.'s The Mountain Song at the 15th annual New York International Fringe Festival. Some didn't even have a ticket, but stood in the rain, hoping for no-shows. Waiting for the doors to open, you could hear the eager chatter about the show and its stars, seven 2011 graduates of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama.

A Streamlined Summertime: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess Opens at A.R.T. Aug. 31 Norm Lewis and four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald star in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, the new, Broadway-bound revised staging of the American folk opera shaped by Diane Paulus, Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre Murray, which officially opens Aug. 31 at the American Repertory Theater.

Mystique Sez: It Ain't Easy Being Blue Either

Topless Robot: "Hey, Kermit! Shut the hell up!" ... is what X-Men: First Class' Jennifer Lawrence might say in the imaginary world where the Muppets team up with the X-Men (fan fic writers, get on that). After all, it might not be easy being green, but Kermit didn't have to undergo seven hours of full body make-up appliance in order to get green in the first place, unlike Lawrence for her role as Mystique in the latest X-Men flick.

Hoot Turns Facebook into a Study Hall and Project Collaboration App

LifeHacker: With the Hoot app, Facebook may actually serve a very useful purpose if you're a student or want to collaborate on group projects. In addition to hosting group video for up to 8 participants and message threads on your topic, Hoot includes smart formatting for math and science.

Wacom Inkling May Become My Favorite Gadget of All Time

Gizmodo: Being an obsessive compulsive sketching bastard, I'm all shades of erect looking at the new Wacom Inkling. With an exquisite design and 1024 levels of pressure, it looks like the perfect device for anyone who sketches anything, from illustrators to architects.

A little less glitz on Broadway this season

Yahoo! News: If Broadway last season was dominated by a glitzy Spider-Man, Broadway's new season seems to be shaping up more like his workaday alter ego Peter Parker.
A quieter, less risky year is in the cards, with fewer big movie stars hitting the boards and less razzle-dazzle in favor of more tried and tested material. Spidey's follies have given way to Sondheim's "Follies."

Theaters explore new moves

Variety: Legit nonprofit org Theater Communications Group and philanthropic group MetLife Foundation have handed out $225,000 in grants to companies including the Wooster Group, Perseverance Theater and Curious Theater Company as part of TCG and MetLife's latest round of funding for initiatives that explore new biz models for the legit world.

Warner Bros. Sued Over 'Hangover 2' Stunt That Left Man With Brain Injuries

Hollywood Reporter: Warner Bros. has been hit with a lawsuit over an alleged stunt-gone-bad on the Bangkok, Thailand set of Hangover 2 that left a man with significant brain injuries.
Scott McLean alleges that he was acting as a stunt double for actor Ed Helms during a sequence filmed on Dec. 17, 2010 where automobiles were traveling at high speeds. McLean was a passenger in one of those cars. A production source told THR last December that McLean was in a moving truck leaning out the window when the car driving towards it to pass skidded suddenly and hit.

Program Hopes to Make Broadway Friendlier to Those With Autism Earlier this month the Theater Development Fund, the nonprofit organization that runs the city’s TKTS discount ticket booths, announced it was starting the Autism Theater Initiative, which aims to make theatergoing accessible to children and adults living on the autism spectrum. The program kicks off on Oct. 2 with a sold-out matinee of “The Lion King” for what TDF, in a news release, calls “the first ever autism-friendly performance in Broadway history.”

Fiasco Theater Company Rides Shakespeare to Success LIKE a clumsy kid in the schoolyard Shakespeare’s late play “Cymbeline” has suffered plenty of bullying. George Bernard Shaw called it “exasperating beyond all tolerance.” Henry James named it “a florid fairy tale.” And Samuel Johnson, its chief tormenter, said that to discuss the play “were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation.”

The Creativity of Anger At first glance, this cultivation of anger and criticism seems like a terrible idea. We assume that group collaboration requires niceties and affirmation, that we should always accentuate the positive. Just look at brainstorming, perhaps the most widely implemented creativity technique in the world. In the late 1940s, Alex Osborn, a founding partner of the advertising firm BBDO, outlined the virtues of brainstorming in a series of best-selling books. (He insisted that brainstorming could double the creative output of a group.) The most important principle, he said, was the total absence of criticism. According to Osborn, if people were worried about negative feedback, if they were concerned that their new ideas might get ridiculed by the group or the boss, then the brainstorming process would fail. “Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud,” Osborn wrote in Your Creative Power.

Whose line is it anyway? Phone hacking turned into theatre A London theatre is to "hack" the voicemails of members of the public, in the first theatrical response to the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed the News of the World earlier this year.
Theatre503, a Battersea venue focusing on new writing, will present six new plays under the collective title Hacked, each of which will be inspired by the messages left on an individual's mobile phone.

How to build an effective team - include women Researchers looking into the concept of "collective intelligence" have discovered that factors for working effectively in a group are highly correlated to being a woman.
Some research published in Science is of interest to developers facing the prospect of managing or working in teams.
The research by Professors Thomas Malone (MIT) and Anita Woolley (Carnegie Mellon) set out to to discover whether "collective intelligence" can be used to predict group performance over a wide range of tasks in the same way as "general intelligence" applies to individual performance.

University shuttle and escort revamp routes

The Tartan Online: Carnegie Mellon shuttle service operations have been altered for the 2011–12 school year. Additional routes have been added, and several new services have been introduced.
“We had a couple of things we tried to accomplish when we did this,” Lieutenant Joseph Myers of the Carnegie Mellon police said, “and one of the things was to take a load off of the escort system, which was bursting at the seams.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet marks 10th season

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Celebrations abound in Bodiography Contemporary Ballet's 10th season, which begins this fall.
Maria Caruso originally conceived the company as a performance outlet for dancers who didn't have a stereotypical (thin) ballet body. In recent years, she has been inspired by and collaborated with doctors to create ballets on health-related topics. One of them, "Heart: Function vs. Emotion," was the subject of a film that was a finalist in a Hollywood film competition in June.

N.Y. Fringe Fest Names 'Yeast Nation' and 'The More Loving One' Among Its Winners

Backstage: The New York International Fringe Festival announced the winners of its 2011 Overall Excellence Awards on Monday. "PigPen Presents: The Mountain Song" and "The More Loving One" both took the prize for overall production of a play

FolderBoy Is a Simple, Folder-Based To-Do Manager

LifeHacker: To-do apps are notorious for being difficult to navigate and more time-consuming to use and manage than the tasks you may be trying to track. FolderBoy takes a different approach to helping you organize your projects, using folders to organize categories or projects and tasks that can live in multiple categories.

Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design

laurenceking: This is the first book to be published on one of the greatest American designers of the 20th century, who was as famous for his work in film as for his corporate identity and graphic work. Saul Bass (1920-1996) created some of the most compelling images of American postwar visual culture.

Back To Russia With ‘Uncle Vanya’

ThinkProgress: I was lucky enough to make it to one of the last performances of the Sydney Theater Company’s production of Uncle Vanya at the Kennedy Center mid-hurricane this weekend, which was just an utter delight. I’ve spent dozens of hours watching Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett on-screen, but I had no idea that they were such gifted physical comedians.

SAG and WGA Candidate Questionnaires Published

The Hollywood Reporter: We had questions – a lot of them, in fact: contracts, merger, wages, working conditions, new media, and more. Probably a few too many questions, since the response rate to our questionnaire turned out to be rather low: about 15%.

Broadway Takes 36% Hit in Weekly Box Office Amid Hurricane Irene Show Cancellations

The Hollywood Reporter: Broadway took a major box office hit with the gross for the week ended Sunday down 36 percent amid show cancellations due to Hurricane Irene, according to the latest data from The Broadway League.

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Camelot’ at Stratford Heroism is not a career to be undertaken lightly, as the two musical revivals at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival here this season make clear. King Arthur, the legendary English leader of knights and founder of the Round Table, finds the task of shaping a chivalric code to be easier than living up to its ideals in the 1960 musical “Camelot.” And his burden is a mere feather compared to that of Jesus himself, the martyred founder of a worldwide faith in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” first staged on Broadway in 1971.

Can you ever have too much rehearsal? Is it possible to have too much rehearsal? The answer isn't as obvious as you might think. In British theatre most directors get four weeks' rehearsal – or, if they're very lucky and work for one of the big companies, six. Then come a couple of previews, when there's still time to fiddle with the production, then it's the all-important press night and then – well, for the director, that's usually that.

Your Friends Are Not Your Audience: A Disturbing Internet Lesson In Perspective

NPR: It's a piece of necessary wisdom that will be shared with countless college students this fall by nervous parents: Tell a story at a party, and it's heard by a handful of people, whose reactions you perhaps have some ability to predict. Tell it on the internet, and it will be heard by the people you know and the people you don't — and the latter outnumber the former by several orders of magnitude.

Monday, August 29, 2011

MTV VMAs: Chris Brown Shows Off his Dance Skills With Performance (Video)

The Hollywood Reporter: Brown surprised the audience, when, in the middle of his performance he took flight, attached to wires. He leapt to another stage and continued his dancing routine.

A No. 2 Theater Company Grabs the State Spotlight For most of the last few decades, when national theater observers talked about Texas, the conversation focused on just one theater: the Alley, in Houston. It regularly presented premieres of major works, like Horton Foote’s “The Carpetbagger’s Children,” the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” and Tennessee Williams’s posthumously discovered “Not About Nightingales.”

My 12 Biggest Freelancing Fears That Didn’t Come True

FreelanceFolder: Fear kept me from freelancing for a long time.
Colleagues and even acquaintances would comment on how my skills were perfect for becoming a freelancer and still I hesitated. I just “knew” something major and bad would happen if I left my comfortable corporate job for the uncertainty of freelancing.
Well, it turns out that I was wrong about something bad happening. I’ve been freelancing for over nine years now. Most of my biggest fears never came true at all.

Alarming Developments In Wake-Up Tools Have You Rising On The (Slightly) Happier Side Of Bed

Fast Company: If you own a smartphone, it's easy to gaze at an old-fashioned, single-purpose alarm clocks and conclude it doesn't do nearly enough. But rely on that phone as your alarm clock, and you're at the mercy of drained batteries, software crashes, and daylight savings time. So what other options exist for a forward-thinking, sleep-loving day worker?

Wardrobe Crew- Blue Man Group and Astor Show Productions

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: Show responsibilities include preset, executing show cues, and post show or turnover duties in a safe, professional and timely manner. A solid ability to communicate with other production departments and within the wardrobe department is extremely important. Emergency and in show problem solving is necessary on an as needed basis. Outside of show calls, the position can vary, and may include: general maintenance and repair, research and development, administrative organization, ordering supplies, and any other elements of the show that fall under the Wardrobe Department jurisdiction and as directed by the Wardrobe Supervisor.

Casting Directors Audition for a Contract Renewal

Backstage: Negotiations are scheduled to begin Monday between the studios and unionized freelance casting directors for a renewal of the CD's current three-year collective bargaining agreement, which expires September 30.

Vermont's Weston Playhouse Flooded By Hurricane Irene; World Premiere of Saint-Ex Shut Down The Weston Playhouse, the respected Equity summer stock theatre in Weston, VT, is under five feet of water due to torrential rains from Hurricane Irene.

Goodnight, Irene! Broadway's Back Aug. 29; Curtain Will Rise on All Shows With Monday Schedule Only a handful of Broadway shows are regularly scheduled to play on Mondays, but the six that do are ready to light the lights on Aug. 29 following two days that saw Broadway fall dark due to Hurricane Irene hitting the city.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kelly-Strayhorn Theater expands events schedule

Post Gazette: For the 2011-12 season of "KST Presents," the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater plans to welcome more theater, Pittsburgh premieres, returning dance favorites, a new poet in residence, festivals, family events, a film series and just overall growth to the East Liberty space's offerings.

Point Park plans lively dance lineup

Post Gazette: Think you know "The Nutcracker"? Point Park University's Conservatory Dance Company will spice up the holiday classic, as well as recognize the artistry of student and established choreographers, as part of its 2011-12 season.
The lineup will commence in September with the return of "Student Choreography Project," a salute to the original work of some of the conservatory's prime student choreographers.

Sadler’s Wells, BAM, Edinburgh Festival and Arts Funding LONDON burns as disenfranchised youth loot and smash windows. Outside the Greek Parliament, the police, brandishing shields, confront screaming protesters. Tens of thousands camped in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square demonstrate against the soaring unemployment rate.

Much Ado? Curtain Comes Down on Hurricane Irene, But Broadway Still Dark on Sunday Hurricane Irene was downgraded to Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28 as sun began to filter through thick clouds by noon. Mass transit remains shut down on Sunday, as do Broadway and many Off-Broadway theatres.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pittsburgh Ballet adding pair of apprentices

Post Gazette: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre welcomes two new dancers and promotes a pair of artists as its 42nd season gets under way.
Olivia Kelly, 20, of Ohio and Cooper Verona, 19, of Connecticut have joined the company as apprentices. Ms. Kelly started her training at Ballet Tech of Ohio in Cincinnati. At 13, she received a scholarship to attend Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, D.C., where she studied for five years. She also has participated in summer intensive programs at Julliard, American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey Ballet School and has danced with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School's graduate program for the past two years.

UPDATED: Hurricane Irene Prompts Cancellation of All Broadway Shows Aug. 27-28; Off-Broadway Also Impacted Irene was a Broadway hit in the 1920s and the 1970s. She's hitting Broadway again, in the form of Hurricane Irene, shutting down the Great White Way Aug. 27-28, The Broadway League announced Aug. 26. Hurricane Irene is expected to lash New York City with high winds and perhaps as much a 5-10 inches of rain Saturday and Sunday.

Hurricane Shuts Down Subways and City Cultural Events

Backstage: Hurricane Irene is already having a huge impact on New York City and it hasn't even arrived yet. City officials on Friday announced a suspension of the Big Apple's public transportation system effective noon on Saturday. Cultural events will also shutter due to the inclement weather predicted for this weekend.

The Feds won't stamp out the PGA mark In one of the stranger intersections of Washington and Hollywood, the Justice Department has given its blessing to a proposed voluntary certification system for producers.
The department said in a statement Friday that it would not challenge a new system backed by the Producers Guild of America that would give producers a "p.g.a." mark of accreditation next to their credits if they qualified under the guild's rules.

Hurricane Irene Concert Cancellations

Rolling Stone Music: Dozens of concert events have been canceled along the Eastern seaboard in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, which is expected to pass through North Carolina tomorrow and hit the New York area by Sunday. Following deadly weather-related concert catastrophes at the Indiana State Fair and the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium, promoters aren't taking any unnecessary risks this weekend.

What I Mean When I Talk About Collaboration

HowlRound: What do I mean by this, by “true collaborative creation”? I mean the model—going back to the days of Molière and Shakespeare, and embodied today by Pig Iron, the Rude Mechs, the Civilians, and so many others—where a number of artists gather in a room to make something all together. A model where directors, dramaturges, designers, and actors are valued as co-creators, as part of a collective hive-brain of authors of a singular experience.

Set Phases to Stun!

TheatreFace: Two weeks ago Stephen Ellison asked, “You mention a 4 phase design approach, what are the phases?” in response to my post, “Houston, We Have a Problem: When Planning Fails.” I began using the “four-phases of design” approach to addressing technical design problems in theatre a few years ago, and have found it to be both scalable to projects of varying scope and adaptable to technical problems of various types, be they structures, mechanisms, control systems, or whatever. One of the advantages to this approach is that it provides ample space for collaborating with the rest of the artistic/production team on a design solution which finds the best balance of time/cost/scope, as opposed to other approaches, which tend to set up an antagonistic relationship between “those who dream it” and “those who make it happen.”

London theater looks ahead

Variety: As the West End legit industry shakes off the scare of the city's recent riots, Julian Bird and Mark Rubinstein, the two incoming heads of the Society of London Theaters (SOLT), remain upbeat about prospects for a coming year that will be capped off next summer by the Olympics, bringing a solid influx of tourists to the city -- but also a degree of uncertainty to the theater biz.

New York SAG Election Becoming a Tinderbox

The Hollywood Reporter: United Screen Actors Nationwide, the group that has controlled the New York SAG boardroom for a number of years, announced endorsements Wednesday from Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin.
The move came a half-day after One.Strong.Union, the breakaway SAG group challenging USAN in the guild’s New York elections, issued a detailed statement accusing USAN of incompetence, indifference, conflict of interest and exclusionary practices.

‘Follies’ Memories - a Revival With Bernadette Peters EVERY Broadway musical has its originalists, the devotees who judge every subsequent production against the memory of the first one. The you-had-to-be-there contingent is particularly strong for “Follies,” Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s 1971 collaboration with the directors Harold Prince and Michael Bennett. Goldman’s book and Mr. Sondheim’s music and lyrics use the reunion of showgirls from a fictitious Ziegfeld Follies-style revue to juxtapose the dazzling heyday of Depression-era Broadway with the decades of ambivalence and regret that followed. The latest revival — directed by Eric Schaeffer and featuring Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Ron Raines and Danny Burstein — will undoubtedly generate its own share of memories when it opens on Sept. 12 at the Marquis Theater.

Ireland Gets Its Own Acting Academy at Trinity College Dublin Danielle Ryan found herself debating a question with her father several years ago when she was back home here on vacation: Why didn’t Ireland, with its rich theatrical bloodlines and population of six million people, have an acting school on a par with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she and other promising Irish artists had migrated to train in recent decades?

Sean Hood's answer to What's it like to have your film flop at the box office?

Quora: When you work "above the line" on a movie (writer, director, actor, producer, etc.) watching it flop at the box office is devastating. I had such an experience during the opening weekend of Conan the Barbarian 3D.
A movie's opening day is analogous to a political election night. Although I've never worked in politics, I remember having similar feelings of disappointment and disillusionment when my candidate lost a presidential bid, so I imagine that working as a speechwriter or a fundraiser for the losing campaign would feel about the same as working on an unsuccessful film.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How Going Local Can Revitalize American Theater by Marshall Botvinick

HowlRound: Twenty-five hundred years ago in ancient Athens, theater shaped the body politic. It was a sacred space where commoners and leaders sat side by side and watched their most pressing national questions dramatized and choreographed. In America, however, neither our leaders nor our citizens flock to the theater, and our playwrights, unlike Sophocles (or Vaclav Havel for that matter), do not serve as national leaders. So what has changed in twenty-five hundred years? Why has theater been relegated to the periphery of the national dialogue in America, and more importantly, what can we, American theater artists, do to rediscover our sense of purpose?

Broadway Shows Are Still a "Go" This Weekend Despite Hurricane Irene; Situation in Flux Irene was a Broadway hit in the 1920s and the 1970s. She'll hit Broadway again. Hurricane Irene is expected to lash New York City with high winds and perhaps as much a 6-12 inches of rain Saturday and Sunday Aug. 27-28.

New York Fringe cancels shows

Variety: In one of the first definite legit cancellations of the upcoming weekend, the head of the New York Intl. Fringe Festival has preemptively darkened all fest shows skedded for Sunday, and also nixed the awards ceremony previously set for Sunday evening, in advance of the expected arrival of Hurricane Irene.

A Hunt of Ducks

Topless Robot: This is part of a brilliant collection of short, videogame-inspired plays being put on by the Piper McKenzie theater company in (where else) Brooklyn. It's titled "Theater of the Arcade," and features plays based on Pac-Man, Donkey King and more, and is so wonderful I can barely stand it.

Props Summit Tonight, and Fun Links for the Weekend

Prop Agenda: Still not sure whether you should come to the 3rd Annual Props Summit in New York City tonight? Even though we will have a guest speaker? What if I told you that you’ll get a gift bag filled with goodies? Jay Duckworth has been making some phone calls and sending some emails to get all sorts of cool prop stuff for everyone who shows up, from companies such as Rosco and Rose Brand.

The flaming apron that sparked the invention of gun cotton and the motion picture industry

I09: Gun cotton, or nitrocellulose, is a staple of a certain era of science fiction — and a certain era of firerarms. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was called 'smokeless powder' and used by the French military. Meanwhile, Jules Verne was using it, in his novels, to launch things into space and fight off bad guys. And smokeless powder was discovered because of a cooking accident and an apron.

Stage Musical For the Boys, With Michele Ragusa and Timothy Gulan, Opens at Marriott Theatre Chicago-area audiences get a taste of some "Stuff Like That There" in the world-premiere stage adaptation of the 1991 film For the Boys, which officially opens Aug. 26 at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL after previews that began Aug. 17.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steffanie Leigh to be Broadway's New Mary Poppins

Backstage: Leigh, who graduated with her BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon University, has appeared in numerous regional theatre productions, including "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Beauty and the Beast," "Into the Woods," "Grease," "Mame," and "Les Miserables."

On the Stage: Quantum looks to have an 'Affair' in Polish Hill

Post Gazette: Quantum Theatre has found a home in Polish Hill for its world-premiere adaptation of Graham Greene's 1951 novel, "The End of the Affair."
The former Emma Kaufmann Clinic at 3028 Brereton St. is the latest stop for the found-space company that used the courtyard of a former West Penn research facility for the season-opening "Twelfth Night."

On the Record with director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, Dawn Keezer

Pittsburgh City Paper: As director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, Dawn Keezer, along with her staff, is least partially responsible for the fake snow in Downtown, the car chases through the city's streets, and various Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway sightings throughout the city. It's all part of the filming of Dark Knight Rises -- the latest Batman film directed by Christopher Nolan. For more than 15 years, Keezer has worked to bring films of all sizes to the Steel City.

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Disney Parks Blog: Today is the anniversary of one of my favorite attractions – The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which was dedicated Aug. 25, 1989, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
If you aren’t familiar, this 30-minute stunt show recreates some of the most thrilling and heart-pounding moments from the Indiana Jones films right before your eyes. (Incidentally, the film franchise celebrated its 30th anniversary this summer).

A new Harry Potter attraction debuts next spring in the UK

Theme Park Insider: For Harry Potter fans in Europe who haven't had the chance to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (or even for those who have), a new Harry Potter experience is opening next spring in the United Kingdom.

Event Safety and Temporary Stage Design

On Stage Lighting: This last month or so, it’s been a regular event: The reporting of a temporary structure failure at a show, leading to serious injury and loss of life. In recent years this kind of news is no longer unheard of, either during a build or a show, something in a roof support or rigging system fails and sets off a chain of events that is putting people in danger.
There has been, and will be, a lot of speculation about specific recent failures, much of it temporal conjecture and even more of it political wriggling, blame and avoidance. Once the bereaved have been comforted, scapegoats cited (like the Weather Gods), legal proceedings done and lip service paid to future event safety, there is the horrific possibility that the “show will go on.”

'Smash' hopes Broadway makes TV musical magic

Variety: There's no denying that musical television is having its day in the sun. With shows such as "Glee," "American Idol," "The Voice" and "Dancing With the Stars" among the most popular in primetime, it's no surprise that networks are greenlighting more music-based programming.

Film, TV Industry Worth $6.5 Billion to Australian Economy

The Hollywood Reporter: The Australian film and television industry was worth AUS$6.1 billion ($6.5 billion) to the nation’s economy in 2009/10, with $5.5 billion in direct contributions from the 40,000-plus people working in the sector, according to a report released on Wednesday by consultants Access Economics and commissioned by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

Theater Talkback: The Good That Comes From Bad Reviews Last week, a neighbor from down the hall stopped me in front of our building to say that two years ago I panned his play. It was actually worse than that. I walked out of his play and then wrote a blog post about exiting early, saying that at the point I left it seemed like maybe the worst show I had ever seen at the New York International Fringe Festival. It was not a very neighborly thing to do.

Protecting Your Ass Onstage

TheatreFace: Precautionary measures must be considered when you bring animals onto the stage, be it on a film set, TV studio, or live theatre production. There is an element of wonder that they can bring to the scene, however, animals are unpredictable and can be real scene stealers. There are many circumstances where a dog or cat can bring a warm feeling to a vignette, or a cowboy on a horse can set the scene for realism, however, even a fish tank full of miniature carp can present complications if not carefully managed. Want a circus scene or an authentic Indian wedding? Elephants can make for big entrances, and big messes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Magic Kingdom

Carnegie Mellon University: Imagine playing a video game and feeling — yes, feeling — the jolt of a collision. Or the sensation of skidding, braking and acceleration.
Called Surround Haptics, it's one of three new innovative technologies in the works by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research, Pittsburgh.

The Arts – Unplugged?

Technology in the Arts: It’s summer, and many people are taking the opportunity to “unplug.” Some are checking into special unplugged hotel rooms (and even getting a discount if they turned in their electronic devices at the desk). Others are paying as much as $14,500 to check in to a clinic that would help them conquer their Internet addiction. Last March, GOOD and the Sabbath Manifesto promoted the National Day of Unplugging, where participants disconnected from the internet for 24 hours. All of this “unplugged” stuff got me thinking — is the arts sector selling itself short as an “unplugged” venue?

Joffrey Ballet tips hat to Balanchine and modern choreographers

Post Gazette: For most of its 50-plus years, the Joffrey Ballet shied away from the repertoire that George Balanchine built at the New York City Ballet, because the company spent its early years virtually on the same urban turf.
Enter artistic director Ashley Wheater in 2007.

Performances brim with emotion at 'August in August' showcase

Post Gazette: With great artists, more is always better. But their special quality also is apparent in small slices. That's one of the truths of "August in August," the showcase of 11 excerpts from the 10 Pittsburgh Cycle plays of August Wilson, ending a three-performance run tonight at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

Sofa so good in Maria Caruso dance 'Sectional Sentiments'

Post Gazette: I have often said that I like my life to be direct and my art to be oblique. So how to elevate the sofa, an intimate part of every American household, to an artistic plane?
The Pillow Project actually performs in a constantly changing arrangement of living room furniture, and the Pittsburgh company has tumbled over and around an overstuffed couch.

City Theatre to honor outstanding contributors

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: City Theatre will honor artist Douglas Levine and community leader David L. Porges as this year's recipients of the Frankel Awards.
This is the 18th year that City Theatre has honored members of the local arts community for their outstanding artistic and philanthropic contributions with the awards that are named for named for Robert M. Frankel.

Art vs. nature: Outside performances come with perils

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: When art and nature collide, the results can be startling, hilarious and occasionally beautiful.
Animals lurk behind the scenes and occasionally blunder onto the stage.
Bats in pursuit of insects drawn by the bright stage lighting dive-bomb audiences.
High winds and torrential downpours make unexpected and dramatic entrances.
And, every once in a while, an animal or an act of nature adds an artistic grace note to a performance.

Review: 'Emma' is a welcome return to Austen

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Fans of Jane Austen will find much to like in Little Lake Theatre's "Emma."
This engaging production that continues through Sept. 3 at the company's home in North Strabane nicely balances the leisurely pace and Regency charm of Austen's tale while moving quickly enough to hold the attention of a contemporary audience.

What You’ve Never Had

2AMt: The non-profit model is living on borrowed time. The current model is dying. Even still, I think we spend more time trying to figure out how to fund a show than actually making the show. Read: The way we make money to make art is not sustainable.
Insanity: Doing the same thing again and again expecting different results. Non-profit arts orgs seem to be doing this. Ask for money, produce a show, make no money, gain no audience and ask for money again – all the while, expecting to exist and support its artist’s livelihoods.
The Dream: to make a living as an ARTIST.

Officially sponsored scalping.

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: In 2008, the live event community went a little ballistic when ticketing giant Ticketmaster acquired its secondary market seller, TicketsNow, and tied the two sites together. Can't get tickets to a sold out event on TM? Now they'll direct you to TicketsNow, and they make money either way.

On Theatricality by Lydia Stryk

HowlRound: A few years back I was invited to take part in the launching of a new play development program and was paired with a fresh, young director. I was quite surprised as we talked about my play to find him urging me to pepper the text with highly theatrical stage directions which he assured me were more likely to attract prospective directors and theater companies to the play. This form of seduction was new to me. I had assumed the less one “staged” as a playwright, the better, allowing space for the designers and director to do their job. It turned out that my assumptions were mistaken.

Ticketmaster Teams With Facebook So You Can Sit Next To Your Friends

Fast Company: When Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard and his new executive team hit the road earlier this year touting a more innovative and fan-focused company -- the Turnaround Tour, we dubbed it in the July/August issue -- one stat was a guaranteed show-stopper. Each time a ticket buyer shared with Facebook friends that he was attending an event, Hubbard said, that alert generated $5.30 in additional ticket revenue.
Then he showed clients the next stage of social commerce, a mock-up of an arena seat map indicating where a customer's Facebook friends were sitting. "Don't you want to know," he'd ask the crowd, "if any of your friends are going to the same show? And where their tickets are, so maybe you can sit near them or find them at the event?"
At the client meeting in Orlando, a Miami Dolphins executive arched his eyebrows while studying the map, turned to his colleague and whispered, "This is sick."

PLASA Submits Outdoor Event Structures Standard for Public Review

Stage Directions: In the wake of several outdoor stage collapses, PLASA is offering a revised Outdoor Event Structures Standard for public review. Got opinions about how outdoor structures need to be safely built? Upset about the recent accidents and have the knowledge to help prevent them from happening again? Here’s a good chance to channel that outrage into a channel to make some real change.

A case for government funding of the arts, part 2

WBEZ: In response to my blog last week, "A Case for Government Funding of the Arts, Part 1," several readers posted comments which decried any connection between the arts and government, even calling for the disestablishment of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
These comments — which I expected — were posted by individuals who claimed to be ardent arts supporters, if not artists themselves. They were passionate yet intelligent statements that completely missed the point.

Blog U.: One Chart to Rule Them All - Confessions of a Community College Dean

Inside Higher Ed: If you haven’t seen this chart yet, go look. It shows the cumulative growth of student loan debt in the US since 1999, as compared to cumulative growth of household debt outside of student loans in the same time period. In brief, the student loan amount increased by 511 percent since 1999; overall household debt outside of student loans increased roughly 150 percent.

'Addams Family' to give up ghost

Variety: Broadway tuner "The Addams Family" will shutter at the end of the year, finishing up a run that began in March 2010.
Musical adaptation of the well-known Charles Addams property roared out of the gate when it began Gotham perfs and sustained strong sales for most of the rest of 2010 despite getting clobbered by the critics when it opened April 8. In more recent months, however, B.O. has tapered off, with the show posted middling sales over the summer season, when tourist traffic has boosted numbers at other tuner offerings.

'Ghost' to haunt Broadway

Variety: Producers are betting that "Ghost" has a chance, with the tuner version of the 1990 pic skedding a Broadway bow that begins in March.
Musical, which opened July 19 in the West End, seemed a likely bet for a Gotham import given the property's high profile from the Oscar-winning screen version. Some London critics had reservations about the book and the score, but most enjoyed the slick staging (complete with phantasmal illusions) and many deemed the show a crowdpleaser.

Seattle's Intiman Theater Takes Step Toward Reopening Seattle’s Intiman Theater, which laid off its entire staff and closed its doors in April, has taken a first step toward reopening, hiring a consulting artistic director to come up with a plan to present to potential backers and the theater’s creditors, the Seattle Times reported.

Why is theatre such a dirty word in politics? From comments reported in the New York Times describing deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak's trial as "just another element of political theatre", to the FT's account of the "political theatre" of Rupert and James Murdoch's recent appearance before the culture, media and sport select committee, it seems that "theatre" is the word which tells us that someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes, and that what we are watching is rhetorical, empty and all for show. Is this fair?

Women Lose Ground as TV Writers

Women and Hollywood: TV is supposed to be better than the movies for women creatives. It is supposed to be the place where women are taken seriously because we watch TV and we buy the things that are advertised on TV. TV shows want women because the advertisers want women because the women buy their products.
And you’d think from the amount of stories on the new women centric TV shows coming up (Playboy Club controversy, Pan Am, Whitney etc) that there would be women everywhere in the creative ranks of TV land.

By the Book: Broadway Revival of Follies Performed Without Intermission Aug. 23 Theatregoers at the Aug. 23 Broadway performance of Follies were witness to an event that hasn't happened on a New York stage since 1972. The iconic Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical about former Follies girls and their stage door Johnnys was performed without an intermission.

Hallmark's 'A Royal Romance' has a Pittsburgh connection

PostGazette: You know Hallmark Channel’s “William & Catherine: A Royal Romance” (9 p.m. Saturday) will be heavy on the fairy tale, happily-ever-after elements when you gaze upon the full head of hair on the movie’s Prince William, played by Dan Amboyer, a 2006 acting/musical theater graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stage Notes: City Theatre goes for laughs with 'City Events' series

PostGazette: City Theatre launches "City Events" this fall, when a trio of comedic stage shows will invade the South Side theater.

Was It Worth It? Theater Makers Who Showed Their Stuff in Edinburgh Add It Up Though my time in Scotland is over for this year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe continues through Aug. 29. Back in Manhattan, I decided to check in with some other New Yorkers — a few of the many folks who took work from here to there this month — and asked them what the costs and benefits are looking like at this point.

‘The Mountaintop’ by Katori Hall Goes to Moscow I HAD vowed never to come back. But here Mother Russia was calling me to Moscow, my former stomping ground, for an extraordinary opportunity: to hear my Broadway-bound play “The Mountaintop” translated into Russian for a public reading last March as part of a prestigious theater festival. How could I turn it down?

Theater Talkback: A Final Scorecard for the RSC The British are going! The British are going!
Actually, the 41 actors and 21 musicians of the Royal Shakespeare Company have upped and gone, having concluded their unprecedented six-week repertory season in New York at the Park Avenue Armory on Sunday. All that remains is to disassemble the purpose-built replica of the company’s Stratford-upon-Avon theater and ship it off to Wales, where it will rest in a warehouse until the company’s next major tour stop of similar ambition.

How to email important people

PassivePanda: If you’re serious about networking, then you’re going to need to reach out to important people.
Important people are busy. They are the A–listers, the celebrities in your field, the best–selling authors, the executives and other respected individuals.
(They’re also mere mortals with flaws like the rest of us, but that’s a different discussion.)
The point is, they’re interesting people and they’re usually great to know on both a personal and professional level. In some cases you’ll run into them on a plane, meet them at a conference, or get an unexpected introduction from a friend.
Random encounters like this might happen once per year. On the other 364 days, however, you’ll have to purposefully reach out to them.
More often than not, the easiest way to get in touch is through email. In many cases, it’s also the only reasonable method of contact since personal emails are often listed on the web, but phone numbers are not.
Of course, tracking down an email address is just part of the battle. Getting a response is the real victory. In this article I’ll share five examples of email strategies that have been very successful for me when contacting decision–makers.

The Labor Problem of Motion-Capture and Acting Awards

ThinkProgress: I don’t blame Andy Serkis for wishing he’d be eligible for acting awards. He hasn’t just pushed forward the use of motion-capture technology; he’s challenged the idea that the only thing that humans can convincingly and compellingly play is other human beings, which I think in the long run will help us develop, in particular, much more sophisticated science fiction.

Win $100 Worth of Books from Focal Press – The Most Dramatic Drama Contest! Focal Press, the publishers of some of the finest production and live event technical books out there is holding a contest. The Most Dramatic Drama Contest! Focal Press is looking for your stories about working in the theatre. Whether it be a challenge you had to over come or a story of just how things went completely wrong. Here is more from Focal Press.
Have you had something go very wrong on a theatre production? Not necessarily on the scale of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, but something that definitely added unwanted drama into your production?

A case for government funding of the arts, part 1

WBEZ: Those familiar with my postings may know that I am a proponent of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). I endorse its mission and its work, and I firmly believe that the federal government (not to mention state and local governments) should support the arts in a material way.
There are people of intelligence and goodwill who hold the opposite view; who believe government at all levels should withdraw its direct and indirect support for the arts, minimal as that support is. For them—and perhaps for you—I offer this rationale:
Governments, nations and societies are not remembered for their leaders, or for battles lost or won. For better or for worse, they are remembered for the culture they create and leave as a legacy for the world.

Stage collapse during Smith Westerns show in Belgium kills at least 2 Three people were killed after a storm ripped through a pop festival in Belgium on Thursday during a show by Chicago band Smith Westerns.
A further 40 festival-goers were injured, seven of them seriously, when a brief burst of high winds and heavy rain flattened tents, uprooted trees, pulled the roof off a stage and brought down giant screens, officials said.

Pay what you can: how low and how far can theatres go? This month the New End theatre in Hampstead, north London, is conducting an ambitious experiment. For the duration of the four-week run of Where's Your Mama Gone?, every ticket will be sold on a "pay what you can" basis.

Indiana State Fair Collapse--State Fair Management Has Blood on Its Hands

- John Huntington's Blog -:I'm glad to see that the media is starting to take the Indiana State Fair management to task. Regardless of the physical cause of the collapse (and the real cause of that should emerge from the investigation, and appropriate heads should roll if negligence is found or corners were cut), the fact that the show was not stopped when the fair site came under a severe thunderstorm warning is inexcusable, regardless of what else happened.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Traffic Advisory: Two Oakland Streets To Close Aug. 21 as First-Year Students Move in at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon University: "Two Oakland streets adjacent to Carnegie Mellon University's Pittsburgh campus will be closed to through traffic from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, to accommodate approximately 1,440 first-year students who will be moving into their residence halls for a weeklong orientation program and the start of the fall semester.
The affected streets are: the 5100 block of Margaret Morrison Street, between Forbes Avenue and Tech Street; and the 100 block of Tech Street, between Margaret Morrison Street and Schenley Drive."

Midnight Radio begins its run on the Pittsburgh sports 'airwaves'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "After warming up with explorations of the worlds of superheros, cowboys and aliens earlier this season, Midnight Radio is now set to tackle a truly iconic subject.
'The Incredible Audio World of Pittsburgh Sports' begins a five-performance run Thursday at Bricolage Production Company's storefront theater on Liberty Avenue, Downtown."

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Starring Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald, Begins at A.R.T. Aug. 17 "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, a new look at the George and Ira Gershwin-DuBose Heyward folk opera, starring Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald, bows at the American Repertory Theater Aug. 17 in Cambridge, MA."

Seattle's Mary Stuart Pairs Anne Allgood and Suzanne Bouchard "Victor Pappas will direct the Peter Oswald adaptation of Friedrich Schiller's classic. The ACT engagement will also use the same conceit as the hit London and 2009 Broadway productions, where the dueling Queens are dressed in period attire, against a male cast all in contemporary clothing."

Crunch time at the Edinburgh festival: audiences step up to shred cash "Some shows at the Edinburgh festival are daylight robbery. Some are cheap at the price, and some cost nothing. There is only one show at this year's festival, however, that invites members of the audience to come on stage and shred their banknotes. And the surprise of it is, people do it.
Gary McNair, a Glasgow-based theatre-maker, is the artist behind the one-man show Crunch, which runs until 27 August at Forest Fringe."

Fiskars Cuts+More

Cool Tools: "I use shears and scissors constantly while building projects from leather and fabric and other materials. I have tried other types, from kitchen shears to more expensive models, but I have found this model from Fiskars to be the absolute best. In my toolbox, they are indispensable."

How Much Should I Charge for My Freelance Services?

Lifehacker: "After years of working as a corporate slave, I've decided to make the jump and strike out on my own as a freelancer. I already have some people interested in my work, but I'm not really sure how much to charge. Do I set my rate based on what other people are charging? Or how do I come up with the best price to charge?"

CSA Announces Artios Nominees

Backstage: "The Casting Society of America announced today the nominees for the 27th annual Artios Awards, honoring artistic achievement in casting. The awards will be presented in duel ceremonies Sept. 26 in New York and Los Angeles. In addition to honoring film, television, and theater casting directors in 23 categories, CSA will present three special awards."

New York Fringe Festival Report: 'Le Gourmand, or Gluttony!' "The peeling ceiling of the Connelly Theater adds decadent texture to “Le Gourmand, or Gluttony!,” a fanciful operetta about the 18th- and 19th-century food critic Grimod de la Reynière, from the troupe 3 Sticks. A monochromatic feast of powdered wigs, breeches, satiny dresses and aristocratic excess, the production, served in 10 “courses,” outlines de la Reynière’s story, stirring in fantastical elements to absurd extremes: comic encounters with Napoleon and Josephine, for example, and a banquet demonstration of the hot new technology the guillotine (“It will revolutionize capital punishment!”)."

'Rocket Boys The Musical' Launches in the West Virginia Mountains and Headed for Broadway

Yahoo! News: "The 1260-seat Theatre West Virginia welcomes 'Rocket Boys The Musical' for a huge and highly-anticipated run August 26 thru September 4, 2011!
West Virginia's original 'rocket boy' son and best-selling author Homer Hickam returns to his home state with the musical's creative team for a full-scale production. Homer Hickam and the Broadway veterans will actively participate in the opening Weekend."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Local stagehands to vote on 6-year agreement next month

PostGazette: Local stagehands will vote next month on a tentative, six-year agreement their leaders reached Sunday with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Robert Olinger, president of Local 3 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said union members will vote on the tentative agreement on Sept. 18.

'August in August' to sample playwright Wilson's entire oeuvre

PostGazette: This week Pittsburgh gets to sample these plays' dramatic legacy of comedy and drama in "August in August," a showcase of excerpts from all 10 plays of Mr. Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle, presented by a cast drawn from Pittsburgh and Broadway. The showcase revives a Pittsburgh tradition that flourished previously in 2004-06, packing the Byham Theater.

City Theatre adds comedies to schedule

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: City Theatre Company has added three non-subscriber comedies to its 2011-12 season schedule.
Organized under the title City Events, the series of three limited-engagement comedies are all Pittsburgh premieres

'George M!' offers a grand old review of Cohan's life

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The songs alone are reason enough to catch a performance of "George M!" at Theatre Factory.
Rousing tunes like "Over There," You're a Grand Old Flag," "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" are unforgettable American standards that defined a generation.

'August in August' resurfaces with eye on playwright's Century Cycle

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: After an absence of five years, "August in August" returns with a celebration of August Wilson's complete 10-play cycle.
To be completely accurate, the title might now read "August in August at August by August" as its being produced at the August Wilson Center and marks the debut of the recently formed the August Wilson Center Theatre Ensemble.

SAG TV Session Fees Plummet 11.1% in 2010

The Hollywood Reporter: SAG principal session fees for television work slid 11.1% from 2009 to 2010 according to figures released by the guild. That number is bad enough, but consider this: SAG, like all the above the line unions, received a 3.5% wage increase in 2010. If SAG’s market share had held firm, session fees should have increased by 3.5%, not dropped by 11.1%. That’s a swing for the worse of over 14%.

Kinky Boots, the New Cyndi Lauper-Scored Musical, Will Strut Into an October Workshop The continuing development of the new musical Kinky Boots, based on the film about a failing British shoe company that becomes a fetish-footwear manufacturer, will result in an October industry reading directed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.

Telly Leung, Uzo Aduba, Nick Blaemire and Morgan James Join Cast of Broadway's Godspell Producer Ken Davenport announced Aug. 16 that Telly Leung ("Glee," Pacific Overtures, Flower Drum Song), Uzo Aduba (Coram Boy), Nick Blaemire (Cry-Baby) and Morgan James (Wonderland, The Addams Family) will join the previously announced Hunter Parrish ("Weeds," Spring Awakening) in the upcoming Broadway revival of Godspell.

Shakespeare on the Subway But on a recent Sunday afternoon a woman stopped abruptly just outside the doors of a downtown train on the N and R line, frozen by the sight of two men rolling wildly along the car’s floor, their hands grappling for purchase as they yelled at each other in a foreign (yet perhaps also familiar) tongue. She backed away, uncertain, until a young woman standing just inside the doors whispered: “It’s O.K. They’re acting.” Act V, Scene 3 of “Romeo and Juliet,” to be precise.

What Is A Gustnado? (Hint: It May Have Collapsed The Indiana State Fair Stage)

Gizmodo: Last weekend, a deadly tragedy struck the Indiana State Fair when the main performance stage collapsed during a freak storm. A witness to the event captured this terrifying moment on video.
After looking at the weather data and videos of the event, at least one meteorologist believes a gustnado may be responsible. So what exactly is a gustnado?

Wearing Multiple Hats

TheatreFace: Unlike most of my contemporary sound designer colleagues, I didn't set out to be a sound designer. I ended up becoming one in a roundabout fashion.
When I began pursuing sound in earnest I discovered that although I was a capable designer, design simply wasn't my passion. What I was good at was live mix, maintaining a system, and running a crew. I wanted to be a mix engineer and an audio supervisor. While many of my friends were chomping at the bit to one day no longer have to operate shows, I was happy behind the console even doing playback or at the work bench soldering.

Forklift Incident Drops LED Screen on Worker Killing Him

Theatre Safety Blog:Thousand Oaks, California. The owner of an LED video screen rental company was crushed and killed when the 1,500 pound screen fell from a fork lift while disassembling the unit after a show. The incident occurred around 1:00 PM at Earl Warren Showgrounds after the weekend rodeo event. Killed was 49 year old David Mann, owner of Jumbo Screen Company

Director vs. text, round 2; Robert Falls and Chris Jones, Stephen Sondheim and the New York Times

WBEZ: When last Sunday's New York Times described with sympathy director Diane Paulus's radical approach to Porgy & Bess. the story provoked an episode of high dudgeon from Stephen Sondheim, who argued that the changes proposed would create not the Gershwins' Porgy & Bess but Ms. Paulus's. Mr. Sondheim's objection, he emphasized, was not to the as-yet-unseen production but to the director's attitude (as he understood it) toward both text and audience.

Indiana State Fair Hires Engineering Firm for Probe of Stage Collapse The Indiana State Fair on Tuesday said it has hired an engineering firm to investigate why a stage was toppled by fierce winds Saturday night, killing five people and injuring dozens.
The investigation will be run by Scott Nacheman, who heads the Chicago office of Thornton Tomasetti Inc., an international engineering firm that has worked on projects in 42 countries.
Thornton Tomasetti was involved in investigating the collapse of the World Trade Center towers after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the 2007 Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis that killed 13 people.

Andrew Lloyd Webber funds theatre for deprived youngsters

The Guardian:Composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's charitable foundation is to fund a new theatre for some of the UK's most socially disadvantaged youngsters.
The youth theatre will be in Inverclyde, Scotland where, long after the demise of its shipbuilding industry, unemployment is at 24%.
Elliott McKelvie, chairman of the Greenock Arts Guild, which is setting up the theatre, said Inverclyde had "deeply-rooted socio-economic problems" and "significant pockets of urban deprivation".

Actors Take Dramatic Roles at Hospitals Lemley, an actress and chanteuse, has specialized in portraying Rita Hayworth in a one-woman show—channeling the 1940s glamour queen's songs and mannerisms, sashaying across the stage in elegant evening gowns reminiscent of old Hollywood.
But on some mornings after a performance, Ms. Lemley would report to Weill Cornell Medical College for a very different kind of acting job. Her costume for these gigs is two hospital gowns, one wrapped artfully on top of the other, accented by her long, red hair and, on a recent day, four-inch, flaming orange wedge shoes.

Shaw loses top billing at Shaw Festival Shaw Festival, for the first time in its 51-year history, will not be presenting a play by Bernard Shaw in its flagship Festival Theatre during the 2012 season, the Star has learned.
This is a rather dramatic response to the fact that Shaw’s plays have not sold well in the larger venue in recent years and the current entry, Heartbreak House, has been reportedly playing to houses as low as 30%.
At the same time, My Fair Lady is commanding audiences close to capacity at all times, which means the problem is not getting people to come to the Festival, but getting people to come to Shaw.

WGA West Alerts Members to Non-Compliant Producer

Backstage: In an apparent attempt to forestall future problems – and up the ante on non-compliant producers – the WGA West notified members Friday about several companies "owned by or related to" strike-listed producer Courtney Solomon, even though the companies are not themselves on the strike list.

Weinsteins Eye Their Own Broadway Productions

Backstage: Harvey and Bob Weinstein are looking to line up financing partners for a slate of original Broadway productions based on their past movies, a source confirmed Monday.
The movie moguls are eyeing eight to 10 productions for now, with "Chocolat" and "Cinema Paradiso" among the likely films that will get the Broadway treatment.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Newest New Yorkers at Play "THEY are young, talented and driven: artists who want to make their mark on the world. You see them in New York more than any other city in the country, and their New York is different from yours and mine. It’s hipper and faster paced, open to experience. If they want to see a folk-singing duo, and their iPhones tell them to cross two highway lanes on foot to get there, consider them crossed."

Cultural District stagehands contract nearing expiration

PostGazette: "A six-year labor contract that covers about 200 stagehands who work at the Benedum Center, Byham Theater and the Cabaret at Theater Square expires Monday.
'We're still negotiating,' said Robert Olinger, president of Local 3 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Union members are scheduled to meet Sunday.
The union is negotiating with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust."

No Name's 'The Mistakes Madeline Made' funny despite mistakes

PostGazette: "Based on recent acquaintance, I'd say No Name Players likes its plays short, comic and surreal. Elizabeth Meriwether's 2006 'The Mistakes Madeline Made' is all that, but once you work through its absurdist juxtapositions, you discover the not-so-bizarre story of Edna (Liz Roberts), an emotionally starved young college grad in a world without meaningful work or relationships."

Macho ado about Oscar Wilde in PICT's 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

PostGazette: "Afterward, the mind spins with the complexity of a brittle comedy of love and money, social satire and linguistic gymnastics. Every nuance is saturated with sexual double-entendre, further complicated by an all-male cast that underlines the sexual ambiguity of an adaptation where everything is wrapped in the author's retrospective melancholy.
Did you get all that?"

Theater Notes: Local theater groups to offer a varied lineup of shows and performance

PostGazette: "As the summer theater seasons draw to a close, a look at some of the upcoming offerings on stages throughout the region"

August Wilson's 486 Club asks audiences to 'take a chance'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Mark Southers is looking for a few people who enjoy theater and a little adventure.
Southers, the artistic director for theater initiatives at Pittsburgh's August Wilson Center, has created the 486 Club, a subscription series of one-performer shows on three Monday evenings.
The title refers to the 486 seats in the August Wilson Center's auditorium."

'Being Earnest' still important after all these years

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Thinking you can improve on 'The Importance of Being Earnest' requires a bit of bravado.
Written in 1895 at the height of Oscar Wilde's popularity, his witty, articulate comedy of manners and social satire has retained its popularity and humor for more than a century."

Farcical humor takes flight in 'Boeing Boeing'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Mountain Playhouse's next summer show is a farcical revival of '60s lifestyles, sexy jet setting and Brazil's bossa nova music.
Opening on Tuesday, 'Boeing Boeing' centers on Bernard, an American playboy living in Paris who is juggling three flight-attendant fiancees -- one American, one German and one Italian. With the help of airline timetables and a phenomenally efficient housekeeper, he convinces each she is his only love."

Students aim for Broadway in musical with true-life focus

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Two college students are hoping to take a giant leap toward their futures in theater with the local premiere of an original production. David Mahokey of Dunbar, a senior at Point Park University, and Greg Kerestan of Greensburg, a senior at Seton Hill University, wrote the 20-song score and script, respectively, for 'In Control,' a musical that focuses in part on Mahokey's real-life battle with bone cancer."

Equity and RWS Sign Agreement

Backstage: "RWS and Associates, a firm that produces entertainment for amusement parks, corporations, and retail centers, has entered into a collective bargaining agreement with Actors' Equity Association."

AGMA Warns Its Lyric Opera Members of a Possible Strike

Backstage: "The American Guild of Musical Artists, the union that represents the performing and production staff at Lyric Opera of Chicago, told its members on Aug. 11 that the upcoming fall season was 'in peril' and they may strike on opening night. AGMA also advised members to be 'prepared to picket' a free Millennium Park concert, which is scheduled for Sept.10."

Is intimate theatre 'decadent'? "After a panel discussion between fringe playwrights David Greig, Zinnie Harris and Lynda Radley yesterday at the Traverse in Edinburgh, conversation – inevitably – continued in the theatre bar. Chat turned to intimate versus large-scale theatre, to the relationship between devised work and the writing of plays, to the interesting business, raised by Radley, of the difficulties of young theatre-makers of her generation making the leap from small-scale plays such as are brilliantly commissioned by Òran Mór in Glasgow to being invited to create work for the main stages of the Traverse or of the National Theatre of Scotland. (Radley, 31, has herself just made the transition from devising and performing her own work to a play, Futureproof, with a cast of seven on the Traverse's larger stage.)"

Stephen Sondheim Takes Issue With Plan for Revamped 'Porgy and Bess' "There’s a spanking new version of “Porgy and Bess” on the way, one that seeks to transform the classic 1935 opera into a commercial Broadway musical. To that end, the director Diane Paulus and the playwright Suzan-Lori Parks have added new scenes, punched up some dialogue, invented biographical details and — most radically — added a more upbeat ending. Such tinkering with the renowned Gershwin work was bound to draw fire from some quarters, and indeed it has, following the publication of an Arts & Leisure article by Patrick Healy about the production, which stars Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. It begins performances at the American Repertory Theater next Wednesday in Cambridge, Mass., with plans to transfer to Broadway next winter."

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Quantum romps through magical 'Twelfth Night' playground

PostGazette: "The famous subtitle of 'Twelfth Night' is 'what you will,' as if to say, 'Here's another gender-bending love comedy; take it how you choose.'
But it's Shakespeare, so whatever you do choose, a silly comedy is also a speculation on the wayward ways of the heart in which experience recognizes rueful truth. And because it dates from Shakespeare's maturity, the comedy comes with a twist that darkens happily-ever-after into something more complex."

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre puts on all-male version of 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

Post Gazette: "A lonely Oscar Wilde, six months before his death in 1900, sits in a Paris cafe and recalls the opening-night triumph of 'The Importance of Being Earnest,' a night that also marked the beginning of his downfall. The playwright scans the scene and begins building his ideal production of his most famous play.
The scene first played out in Conall Morrison's imagination, with the idea that 'Earnest,' a searing satire of the Victorian upper crust, became Wilde's enduring success because it contained so much of the playwright himself. It will play out again for Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre in the all-male production that begins in previews tonight and opens Saturday."

Gender-bending Wilde

PostGazette: "A chief pleasure of reviewing Oscar Wilde is to quote him. 'In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing,' says Cecily. 'Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone,' thunders Lady Bracknell.
Both, of course, are characters in Wilde's masterpiece, 'The Importance of Being Earnest,' and these are among the many passages Barry Paris enjoyed quoting in his Post-Gazette 2002 review of it at the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company."

Talented cast energizes CLO's edgy 'Superstar'

PostGazette: "'Jesus Christ Superstar,' the first successful collaboration of lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, shot onto the theater scene in 1971 with a howling rocker Jesus and some of the same controversies that surrounded 'The Passion of the Christ' decades later. The rock opera became the longest-running West End musical at the time of its closing, and it keeps on going, including an acclaimed version at this year's Stratford Shakespeare Festival that's bound for LaJolla and possibly Broadway."

Review: CLO takes fresh look at 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Fresh looks at vintage productions must be the new slogan for Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
As with last month's production of 'The Sound of Music,' the production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' that opened Tuesday evening feels far more vibrant and meaningful than just another restaging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's sung-through rock opera that debuted on Broadway in 1971."

'Being Earnest' still important after all these years

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Thinking you can improve on 'The Importance of Being Earnest' requires a bit of bravado.
Written in 1895 at the height of Oscar Wilde's popularity, his witty, articulate comedy of manners and social satire has retained its popularity and humor for more than a century."

Cause and effect

Variety: "Through its annual grants program, HFPA has given, as of last year, more than $12 million to entertainment related orgs across the spectrum. The nonprofit has been a generous donor to causes ranging from preserving the culture and history of film to professional mentoring to promoting cultural exchange."

National Tour of Memphis to Star Bryan Fenkart and Felicia Boswell "Bryan Fenkart and Felicia Boswell will fall in love across a smoky, music-filled room in the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis, which launches this October in its namesake city."

"O-K Let's Go!" Bring It On: The Musical Sets Initial Tour Itinerary "Bring It On, the new stunt-filled musical about the world of competitive cheerleading, has announced initial stops for its national tour that is scheduled to launch in October at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles."

From A DOLL'S HOUSE to TOUCH(ED) and a sneak peek of TEN CENTS A DANCE

Williamstown Theatre Festival Blog: "TOUCH(ED) will open at the Nikos Stage tonight, but as you all know, it takes a lot of people to put on a show. Watch our wonderful crew transform the Nikos from A DOLL'S HOUSE to TOUCH(ED). Wishing a wonderful opening to all involved tonight!"

UK student wins Microsoft Excel World Championship

BBC News: "UK student Rebecca Rickwood has won a global competition to find the best user of Microsoft's spreadsheet software, Excel 2007."

Dionysus to Kokopelli: the sacred circle of 'theater in the round'

WBEZ: "Notwithstanding the 20th Century development of 'theater in the round'--which often is in the square or oval--Western culture abandoned the circle as a primary theatrical shape some 2200 years ago, when the rising Roman civilization co-opted the waning Greeks. The most obvious feature of a Greek theater was the perfectly circular space at the very center of things, a space the Greeks called the orchestra, or 'dancing place.' It had nothing to do with a group of musicians playing instruments (although they were there, too), but with the chorus who sang, chanted and danced."

Wenger Corporation Acquires Rigging Company, J.R. Clancy "Effective August 1, 2011, the Wenger Corporation, based in Owatonna, MN signed an agreement to acquire J.R. Clancy, Inc. based in Syracuse, NY.
This is exciting news for employees and business partners of both companies. The Wenger Corporation and J.R. Clancy are long standing privately owned businesses with shared values, dedicated and loyal employees, great brands, strong heritages, and great reputations in the market place."

Globe theatre to get sister building

The Guardian: "Hardy theatregoers who have stood patiently to watch rain-soaked summer performances at the Globe theatre in London will welcome plans for a new Jacobean-style theatre on the South Bank – with that latest theatrical innovation of the Bard's day, a roof."

Woodshed Collective’s ‘Tenant’ at West-Park Presbyterian "FOR about three years the West-Park Presbyterian Church, at the corner of 86th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, sat abandoned as architects, congregants and preservationists squabbled over a plan to build condominiums above the rosy, Romanesque Revival structure. When landmark designation last year quashed development plans, worshipers returned to a building much in need of repairs. In the parish house that abuts the chapel, paint peels, damp patches spread, and musty odors rise from the basement."

‘Clybourne Park’ by Bruce Norris, a Gentrification Study "EVERY city has a Clybourne Park. At least that’s what several regional theaters across the country are betting on as they introduce their audiences to Bruce Norris’s darkly humorous play “Clybourne Park,” a dissection of race, gentrification and real estate."

Classical Theater of Harlem to Reopen With ‘Henry V’ "The “Henry V” that begins this Friday in the newly renovated amphitheater at Mount Morris Park is quintessential Classical Theater of Harlem: a gritty, hyperactive production of a Shakespearean drama, featuring a mostly black cast. Not as apparent are the lofty ambitions this play (and the company’s other plans) represent, or the daunting hurdles it faces."

Theater Talkback: Is It Fair to Jeer? "You hear it at Bayreuth and at the Met. Some places in Italy are so famous for it you’d be disappointed not to hear it. Booing at the opera may seem like a breach of protocol, but for better or worse it’s a tradition. In some circles, it’s even a sign of good taste.
So I wonder … if we hear booing at the opera, why don’t we hear it at the theater? And — dare I ask — should we?"

Theater Talkback: Highlights From a Decade of Watching Shakespeare "Shakespeare surrounds us this season, perhaps even more than usual. Every summer brings the usual array of Shakespeare productions in parks and outdoor amphitheaters and, in New York at least, parking lots. The fare naturally tends toward the lighter and friskier side of the Shakespeare canon: on any given summer day, somewhere in America, you can see fairies frolicking alongside young lovers in flight from Athens in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”"

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Production Manager- Blue Man Productions

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "Blue Man Productions is seeking a hands-on Production Manager. Reporting to the Director of Production, the Production Manager is responsible for coordinating project specific production and technical elements for our shows, corporate and press engagements, and show logistics. This role also will help departments create and maintain a company wide data base for all technical areas."

Oregon Shakespeare Festival To Re-Open Bowmer Theatre

Stage Directions: "The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce that the Angus Bowmer Theatre will re-open today with a matinee performance of Measure for Measure at 1:30 pm and an 8:30 pm performance of The Imaginary Invalid. The Bowmer has been closed for six weeks and three days because of a major crack in the main supporting beam of the theatre that occurred on June 18. For a complete recap of events, visit our website."

Canadian theatre comes into its own "Back in the late 1970s I was a regular visitor to Canada's two big theatrical jamborees: the Stratford Shakespeare festival and the Shaw festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In those days, if I'm honest, the big draw at Stratford was the luminous presence of Maggie Smith, which was then run by her fellow Brit, Robin Phillips. Paying a whistlestop return visit last week to both festivals, I was staggered by the changes. Both Stratford and the Shaw have grown in scale: each town now has four theatres offering a combined total of 23 productions. And, although Stratford is run by the part-American Des McAnuff and the Shaw by the Belfast-born Jackie Maxwell, both festivals now rely much more on home-grown talent. I never once heard those agonising debates about cultural identity that were a feature of my first visits."

Mary Poppins floats off with eight awards "THERE were few surprises at last night's annual Helpmann Awards in Sydney as the musical Mary Poppins proved the night's big winner.
The lavishly produced Walt Disney musical won eight of the 12 categories it was nominated in, including best musical, best musical direction, best male actor in a musical for Matt Lee, best female for Verity Hunt-Ballard, best choreography, best sound design and best direction."

Met Opera, Orchestra Union Reach Contract Accord

Backstage: "New York City's Metropolitan Opera and the union representing its orchestra have reached a contract agreement."

Monday, August 01, 2011

Jesus and Judas get ready to rock 'n' roll

PostGazette: "Doug Kreeger walked into the Pittsburgh CLO conference room with a bright red gash running down his neck.
'That cross gave you a nice scratch,' Josh Tower observed.
A performer's battle wound, if you will.
Apparently Pittsburgh CLO's 'Jesus Christ Superstar' requires grappling with rather vicious props, or at least that's what Mr. Kreeger's injury would suggest."

Quantum finds another sweet spot for Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'

PostGazette: "Shakespeare might have been an ad man hired to write Quantum Theatre's slogan when he penned the opening line to 'Twelfth Night': 'What country, friends, is this?'
The setting the Bard had in mind for his play was ancient Illyria, along the Adriatic Coast. Quantum's 'Twelfth Night,' necessarily rerooted for the found-space company, will bloom in the concrete-paved courtyard of the dormant West Penn Hospital Foundation Research Facility in Bloomfield."

The Big Bard Fest in the West is more than just Shakespeare

PostGazette: "This may seem like a long way to go for Shakespeare, but the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, founded in 1935, is the big one. It may not be the oldest Shakespeare festival in the United States, but it has the biggest audience, longest season and biggest budget."

Review: Quantum's 'Twelfth Night' seems to play with time, space

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Turn off Bloomfield's bustling Liberty Avenue and follow the twists and turns of Gross Street into an isolated hollow beneath the South Millvale Avenue bridge.
There you'll find an abandoned building of sharp edges and right angles on the brink of being overtaken by a primeval tangle of vines and greenery that may well have you asking, as Viola does, 'What country, friends, is this?'
The answer is Illyria, the setting for Quantum Theatre's open-air production of 'Twelfth Night' that's being performed in the courtyard of the former West Penn Hospital Foundation Research Facility."

Quantum Theatre releases emotions in 'Twelfth Night'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Quantum Theatre artistic director Karla Boos first encountered the towering, sharp-angled structure flanked by a steep hillside of cascading greenery, she found herself asking the same question that Viola does near the start of 'Twelfth Night' -- 'What country, friends, is this?'"

'Rapunzel' a chance for cast to let their hair down

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The executive producer and owner of Apple Hill Playhouse wears a new hat in the Delmont community theater's latest children's production, 'Let Your Hair Down, Rapunzel.'
It's a witch's hat."

How to be a Great, Not Just Good, Set Decorator

Props: "I don’t have the author of the following piece, nor could I locate the original source. In fact, it doesn’t seem to appear anywhere on the internet. So if anyone knows the originator of the following essay, I would love to hear about it. And for the rest of you, it’s too entertaining not to share."

Theater eating its young, part II

WBEZ: "The responses to news of the closing of Infamous Commonwealth Theatre pointed out the indisputable fact that there are always new theater companies coming along. That's always been cited as one of Chicago's competitive advantages in supporting a theater industry: that the barriers to entry are so low. But are they, really?"

Broadway Actors Use Twitter to Connect with Friends, Fans, Industry

Backstage: "What if 'Catch Me If You Can' actress Kerry Butler is prancing around on stage and, say, her shoe falls off. As you expect from a Broadway pro like her, without skipping a beat she would finish the scene. That's what top performers have always done."

Flop Broadway Musicals Find Life Overseas "IT was the most expensive musical ever mounted on Broadway, staked on a character that was wildly popular from movies and books. Yet the lavishly designed show opened to a crush of negative reviews, leaving producers wondering how they would earn their money back once tourists stopped buying tickets."

Rehearsals, Side by Side and Glorified "FORTY-SECOND STREET has long catered to the needs of New Yorkers, tourists, theater lovers, moviegoers, small-time hustlers, global corporations, shoppers, restaurateurs, news hounds, thrill seekers, hopefuls and has-beens. But until the New 42nd Street Studios was completed in 2000, there was precious little space for performing artists to rehearse."

Batman battles Bane on streets of Pittsburgh "The residents of Pittsburgh got a sneak peek of the highly-anticipated “The Dark Knight Rises” on Sunday, when The Caped Crusader was spotted battling his latest foe on the streets of the Steel City."